Stop Climate Chaos

COP15 and the Fossil of the Day - 16th December

Today has been a rollercoaster of activity at the UN talks in Copenhagen, but unfortunately still a depressing lack of progress.

In the morning 100s of activists tried to get in to the Bella Centre, where the talks are being held. They attempted to bridge a moat next to the centre with giant inflatable lilos. The police responded fiercely wielding batons and with the liberal use of pepper spray. Several people were subsequently treated for head wounds and for the effects of tear gas, and a further 250 arrests were made.

Meanwhile, inside the talks, Connie Hedegaard, the Danish climate and energy minister who was the President of the COP15 talks, stated:

With so many heads of state and government having arrived it's appropriate that the prime minister of Denmark presides

And with that she's standing down to allow the Danish Prime Minister, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, to take over.

Throughout the day there have been sit-in protests, mostly to express disgust that most NGOs and CSGs are currently banned from the talks, most notably Friends of the Earth and Avaaz, while WWF were banned from distributing their press release. To put some scale on it, the numbers of approved NGO places have allegedly gone from 22,000 to just 90. To make matters worse, press and delegates still currently allowed in, will have their accreditation revoked if they talk to any representatives from the banned NGOs.

Please take a minute to write to Yvo de Boer demanding NGOs and CSGs be allowed to return to the talks.

One of the few rays of light at the talks came from James Michel, the President of the Seychelles,

We are taking action to become climate neutral in 2020. But we can’t save the planet alone.

Similarly Bolivian President Evo Morales, and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, both delivered rabble rousing speeches. Morales called for rich countries to pay climate change reparations, and to raise their ambitions to meet a target of keeping global temperature increases over the next century to below 1°C. Chávez focused more on the economic system that generated the problems, and proposed that socialism was the only way to save the planet. The President of the Maldives, Mohammed Nasheed, also made an impassioned speech (see below courtesy of WWF):

The US managed to scoop the Fossil of the Day award yet again - the third time in a row, for trying to water down science-based targets in the negotiations' text. Stop Climate Chaos Coalition Director, Ashok Sinha, wrote yet anther letter to US Ambassador Louis Susman concluding:

The future of humanity and the world's ecosystems must not continue to be jeopardised by the failure of the US - and others - to make binding commitments to reduce their emissions by no less than the scientific evidence dictates. As well as pressuring our own country and the rest of the EU to demonstrate true leadership, we continue to look to President Obama and his team to finally step up to the plate.

Picketing outside US embassy

We'll be delivering the letter to the US embassy in Grosvenor Square as part of delivering the Fossil of the Day award again tonight (16th) around 5.30pm.

As the talks are at a critical stage, please also take action to help them on their way. In light of the US's repeated Fossil awards, you can email Barack Obama with Christian Aid's action and email the American embassy with Oxfam. You can also 'Badger' Gordon Brown to show leadership in Copenhagen with Tearfund and help get Friends of the Earth back into the talks.

For the other results from today's Fossil of the Day, here's the full rundown from our friends at Climate Action Network.

FIRST: United States
In a truly remarkable tour de farce, the United States picks up its THIRD STRAIGHT, First Place Fossil of the Day Award. And they had done such a good job last week with their clean Fossil record. This First Place Fossil Award is bestowed upon the United States for having inserted a proposed “X %” as an alternative to the science based targets currently in the text. This mysterious “X” would represent voluntary pledges by parties in the agreement, replacing concrete binding emissions reductions. At a time when critical action and strong, concrete terms are what’s needed most, the US is proposing we move as far as possible in the other direction. One superlative deserves another, so we thought it fitting that the US ends up with highest dishonor given to the government that does the most to block progress towards achieving the Fair, Ambitious and Binding Treaty that the world expects. A hearty un-congratulations to you.

SECOND: The Umbrella Group
To the Umbrella Group, for coming up empty on long-term financing just when these talks need it most. It doesn't get much more anemic than today's umbrella group statement on long-term finance, which contained not a single number -- but did prominently feature the role of carbon markets. The Umbrella Group represents all of the industrialized Annex 1 countries other than the European Union and refused to provide developing countries with the support they need through long term finance agreements. Umbrellas: Copenhagen needs you to step up and recognize a scale of public financing in line with what's really needed, and to tell us how you plan to provide that support. It's way too late for vague platitudes.

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